Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/VsewYAKtMpv79tzz5
Before The Start – My 22nd race of the year was the Still I Run 5K held on the evening of April 29th at McAllister Park. This event supports and raises funds for mental health awareness, with a concentration on mental health for veterans, who sometimes may be in a dark place after their military duties, experiencing PTSD, possible suicidal thoughts, etc. Most the participants, including me – retired Air Force – had some type of military connection. This was my 2nd 5K of the day after doing a 5K earlier in the morning. Start time was roughly around 5:45 or so, done on the paved park roads and paved off-road trails. This was the inaugural event for this 5K, founded by my friend Jada. Done on the same day as the vey popular night-time Flambeau parade for Fiesta San Antonio,, which started in the evening a bit after this one, this ended up being a smaller event with 56 total finishers; however, it was also a pretty personal event too, with lots of friends who knew each other being there, so it came across as a very nice runner/walker get together for a serious cause. I got my race packet and then got a few pre-start photos.
On The Course: National Anthem was sung beautifully by my friend Meghan and then we started probably a little before 6 pm. For our weather, we had what weather people call ‘abundant sunshine’ and a temp of 88 degrees. My kind of weather, lol. I much prefer running in warmth than in the cold. The humidity was actually not too bad and McAllister Park trails have lots of shady spots along the way. I did my usual run 8 minutes/walk 2 minutes and took photos during my walk breaks. Several times, since I am slower than a snail racing a turtle, I had the trails all to myself. It was all good, though; My neighborhood is right behind the park and I often run here on my own, so it felt very natural for me; also, since I had pushed myself a bit at my morning 5K, for this one I just kicked back and went easy. I even stopped to play wih a dog for a bit and give it a treat; chatted with a deer for a couple of minutes; -she told me that Bambi movie was WAY off the mark for what deer actually do, lol; my first thought was ‘how did a deer get into the movie theater? 😉 – and I encountered a walking couple who were in the park for the first time and felt like they were lost, so gave them some directions I ended up 4th out of 5 in my 60-69 males age group, with a chip time of 42:24, averaging 13:35 per mile, but I sure did have a lot of fun, and I had a negative split from Mile 2 to Mile 3.
After My Finish: Got some water and did a short cool-down walk. Then I wandered around chatting with participants, supporters, vendors, etc. Enjoyed a post-race beer and some post-race goodies. There were some awards for the top finishers and overall age group winners, and then some other give-aways too.
Epilogue: This is a very nice-and-friendly 5K that feels more like a get-together of running friends to just come out and enjoy themselves with each other – although the message and cause of this event is a serious one and should be heeded. Please, please, please, if you have veteran family members, friends, are a veteran and are in a bad place mentally, physically, whatever, please be aware there is help out there. If you know of someone in a bad place, then please tell someone about it, so someone can step up and try and help them before it is too late. There are all kinds of resources, but they won’t help if nobody knows what’s going on. Did you know: Among all U.S. adults—including Veterans—the average number of suicides per day rose from 81.0 per day in 2001 to 121.0 in 2020; and it is still pretty bad; not good. Please help any way you can via a donation to organizations that try to prevent this; to reaching out to those you personally know; and/or anything else you can think of to help. I would definitely do this one again – but perhaps move it away from Fiesta time. Participants got a very nice finisher medal and a really good quality race shirt. Much thanks to Jada for starting this one; to iaap who did the race timing and results; to friend Gilbert for having his very tasty fruits out there for us; and all involved sponsors, volunteers, and anyone else helping to get this one going,